preview

Essay On Free Will And Determinism

Satisfactory Essays
Free Will and Determinism
Is our behavior driven by our own free will or is there an antecedent cause to all that occurs in our lives? This is a question that has plagued psychologists and philosophers alike for centuries. There are arguments to support both theories of free will and determinism, although neither can be proven as the factor that truly guides human behavior. 
According to the theory of universal determinism, causal laws govern all. With this theory, knowing all the properties of the universe would allow you to unfailingly predict all future events. Simple evidence for determinism is that science seems to eventually find a cause for things. Free will argues that we cannot ignore that common sense tells us if we feel compelled to do so, we can make a change. If determinism were true, no person could be held against for his or her actions as causality meant for it to happen. However, the determinism theory attempts to go beyond that and assume that our behavior is already pre-determined by previous events, which does not allow us to change. 
Free will means that we can and have overcome our desires and inclinations. Both common sense and fact show that we can actively change our behavior. We don’t feel compelled by unknown forces to act in a certain way, and at times of decision we know there are other choices.
A determinist’s reply would state that humans are ignorant of the forces around them that are actually controlling their behavior in this sense; man becomes a puppet to irresistible forces acting upon him. Neither the free will nor the determinism theories can be proven to be wholly causal of human behavior. Alternate theories are formulated that incorporate main points of free will and determinism that appear...

... middle of paper ...

...ough good reasons alone may not be enough to make a person choose. Impulses and emotions all come into play when choosing to behave a certain way.

Works Cited
Clarke, Randolph. Indeterminism and Control. American Philosophy Quarterly, 1995: 32, 125-139.
Double, Richard. Misdirection in the Free Will Problem. American Philosophy Quarterly, 1997: 34, 357-367.
Hutto, C.W., McGahan, J.R., Pryor, P.L., Williamson, D. A Preliminary Study of the Effect of Imaginary Sexual Stimulation on the Perceived Covariation Between Freedom and Responsibility. The Journal of Psychology, 2000: 134, 645-663.
Sokol, Moshe. Maimonides on Freedom of the Will and Moral Responsibility. Harvard Theological Review, 1998: 91, 25-40.
Schick, T & Vaughn, L. Do We Have Free Will? A Review of the Leading Theories Shows That the Question is Answerable After All. Free Inquiry, 1998: 18, 43-48.
Get Access